Citizens' online communications are intensively tracked by both government and business. One for over-drawn security reasons and the other to sell advertising and to sell our personal data directly to others . There is a relentless refinement of technology for gathering and analyzing this data.
With the default settings on most services and apps, it is often difficult and inconvenient to opt out of this data appropriation. When we are actually provided with such an option.
Most of us understand that anonymous communication is critical to a free society. However, when Big Brother and Big Business are watching and listening. Open inquiry and communication are seriously chilled.
A new MOBILE communications application called Wickr has been developed to alter this situation and to put control back in the hands of the user.
It was designed by security experts who know what it takes to protect online communications from third party interception. Their credentials appear solid :
"Wickr was co-founded by Kara Lynn Coppa, a former defense contractor; Christopher Howell, a former forensics investigator for the State of New Jersey; Robert Statica, a director at the Center for Information Protection at the New Jersey Institute of Technology; and Nico Sell, a security expert and longtime organizer for Defcon, an annual hacker convention." ( "An App That Encrypts, Shreds, Hashes and Salts" , By Nicole Perlroth, NYT June 27, 2012 )
Send and receive text, photos, videos, voice and pdfs that are::
CONTROLLED - sender decides who sees what, where and for how long
SECURE - military-grade encryption (AES256,ECDH521,RSA4096 TLS), we do not have the keys
PRIVATE - not shared with strangers, deletes metadata (location, time, identification and edits)
ANONYMOUS - we require no personal info from you, we collect nothing about you or what you do
SHREDDED – Secure File Shredder forensically erases unwanted files you deleted from your device
COMPLIANT - FIPS 140-2, HIPAA, exceeds NSA Suite B Compliancy (Compliance for Top Secret communication)
INTEGRATED - send PDFs and images from Box, Dropbox, Google Drive
( "An App That Encrypts, Shreds, Hashes and Salts" , By Nicole Perlroth, NYT June 27, 2012 )
Both the sender and the receiver must have the app to communicate securely. Only the receiver is able to decrypt the message once it was sent. Wickr does not have the decryption keys. Wickr does not store messages on a central server. The government cannot have a "back door" for data that is unavailable.
The app is free to download and use. ( Android , I-Tunes ) Premium subscriptions will become available soon.
Co-founder Ms. Nico Sell, would like users to not only be motivated by what she calls the "fear factor". But also by the "fun factor" that such related apps like SnapChat have engendered.
There may be enough "fun" in knowing that our online communications can be kept away from the government surveillance databases and the commercial marketing profiles. Enjoy !
( "US spying fuels popularity of secure messaging app Wickr" , By Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times November 24, 2013 )